For a new installment in our â2021 in Video Gamesâ series, we are joined by Peter Warman, co-founder and CEO of Newzoo.
Peter Warman, co-founder and CEO of Newzoo
How has 2021 treated Newzoo?
This year has been a special year for Newzoo for a number of reasons. Commercially, this will be our biggest year. We have experienced significant growth every year since Newzoo’s inception, but this year we are surpassing all previous years. In terms of staff, we have passed the hundredth mark and today we are a team of around 110 extremely talented and passionate people. The last time I counted we have 32 different nationalities in-house which is a great asset considering the overall nature of our market. Most importantly, we want to create a work environment that enriches the lives of people who have chosen to spend part of their careers with us. The exchange of cultural experiences is an important part of this.
From an innovation and product perspective, this year was probably the most important in Newzoo’s fifteen years. We’ve made significant investments in our data warehouse and proprietary platform, combining all of our models, taxonomies, and data into a new suite of services. This year, our flagship platform subscription service, Newzoo expert, has found tremendous market traction, particularly in our core game development, game technology and hardware markets.
At the same time, our consumer knowledge business flourished because of the need to understand the impact of the pandemic on consumer behavior inside and outside of gaming. The current focus on the “metaverse” only increases this need. I am also very proud that we have been involved in some of the most significant investing and M&A activity our market has seen this year.
What development or trend that you observed in 2021 do you see as critical for the market in general?
I continue to be amazed at the dynamics of our market and how quickly the gaming industry is growing in many directions. Traditional media and entertainment businesses, including the entire mainstream brand and advertising ecosystem, are only slowly starting to figure out what to expect. Popular game IP addresses and game themes are increasingly entering traditional media formats such as TV series and movies. Squid game and Esoteric are obvious examples of Netflix. Vice versa, traditional media content such as live concerts is increasingly consumed in gaming environments. It’s no surprise that global tech giants are multiplying games.
With the success of the games, accelerated by the pandemic, comes great responsibility. Games are the greatest form of entertainment from a business and engagement perspective. Communities are formed within and around games with platforms like Discord and Reddit hosting hundreds of millions of people each month. Games and play-related tools have taken center stage as destinations for socializing. It is the responsibility of these companies to keep these environments safe and to make everyone feel at home. In addition, communities expect companies to give back some of their success to contribute to a better world.
At Newzoo, we aim to play an active role in this responsibility. We conduct an annual Diversity and Inclusion Study and share these findings with the world. We work with organizations such as the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) to research and report harassment and discrimination in games.
The above trends are impacting Newzoo’s priorities. We invest a lot of time in R&D and product development to stay ahead of the curve and have the information and data our customers need when faced with new responsibilities or market changes. It’s no different this year and certainly won’t be any different in the years to come.
As a business, what will you be strategically focusing on in 2022?
Over the past six months, we have defined our short and long term vision and strategy for the next five years. I can’t give you too much of our long term ambitions and the direction we see the market and ourselves going, except I’m extremely excited about it. In the short term, we will continue to increase the value we create for our clients in our platform and the data available to integrate with their business intelligence platforms. In practice, this means for example: a higher data frequency (e.g. DAU), new platform features around very specific use cases, the expansion of our taxonomies and the depth of data on tens of thousands of games. Almost all of the major gaming or gaming related companies are now using our service. This year, we have seen a growing share of mid-sized and freelance developers adopting our services. We aim to create value for everyone, regardless of gender, region or size. Other exciting projects for 2022 that I will keep to myself for now. Keep your eyes and ears open.
What third-party titles were you personally excited about as a player?
I have been an avid gamer since the very first Pong console my parents bought me in 1979. I have to admit that I spend more time now thinking about the business and future of games as well as watching my games. children and colleagues than playing games myself intensely. Over the past few months we have hosted an Olympic Games event in Newzoo which featured very competitive tournaments involving Among us, Rocket league, valiant, MDR, Assetto Corsa Competizione, and Brawl stars with shoutcasters and everything. Lots of fun. We have also challenged some of our partners for a competitive game of Dota 2, MDR and CS: GO…
I did a quick poll with the folks at Newzoo and these four games stood out as the ones we are particularly passionate about:
- Baldur’s Gate 3, Larian Studios
- Hollow knight; Silk song, Cherry Team
- Infinite halo, Xbox Game Studios
- Disco Elysium: the final cut, ZA / UM